The Multilingual News Service established by the NEMBC is celebrating its first anniversary and has now grown to provide a daily news service in 19 languages.
NEMBC CEO, Russell Anderson, says, “Established as a response to the second-wave outbreak of COVID-19 that gripped Melbourne in September 2020 the Multilingual News Service (MNS) has grown to provide daily news in 19 languages and regular Explainers in up to 25 languages.
“Starting with just 7 languages, the service quickly grew and distributes 80 news playouts a week to between 13 to 15 community radio stations in Victoria.
“It’s a completely community driven initiative with a grassroots team of ethnic community radio translators and producers. The service employs over 35 script writers, translators and producers.”
Every day for the last year, a team of writers and subeditors get together to write up the latest COVID-19 news and information. Producers translate the copy and produce five-minute bulletins in multiple languages for broadcast on community radio stations and for release online via social media platforms to reach different communities.
Anderson says “…a big part of our audience is also reached through social media, WhatsApp groups and available online via Soundcloud news and explainer sites. The NEMBC can re-share news to reach over 300,000 additional people from Multicultural backgrounds through its social media and digital platforms.
“The news service can respond quickly to events as they unfold and our media network is utilised to develop audio Explainers about COVID outbreaks, easing restriction, packages of financial support or vaccination hesitancy.”
“The Multilingual News Service delivers reliable and consistent information to culturally and linguistically diverse communities, enabling them to be better informed, to make good decisions about the pandemic and ultimately keep communities safe and save lives”.
“The regular and consistent daily news acts to counter the misinformation on social media.”
“The ethnic community broadcasting sector proved that it can be agile, innovative and lead the way in a time of crisis.”
Funding for the service comes from the Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing and the NEMBC has a proposal with the NSW government for a daily news service and is approaching other states.
The Federal Government has also been approached to support a National Multilingual News Service.